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La Cienega Area

David Lloyd’s art strives to look original at any cost. He makes painted wood wall reliefs of considerable size and formidable complexity. They avoid classification and even titles with the phobic stubbornness of a kid who thinks having a name is too restrictive.

The L.A. artist is nothing if not literate in the grammar of vision and nothing if not determined to use a sharp intelligence as a weapon of contradiction. Start thinking maybe all those free-form shapes are a species of Neo-Biomorphism and he makes them just mechanical enough to block that move. Start thinking he is concerned with formal abstract issues and he gives us a snake-shape that ends in a horn-bell lined with blue metallic moired myilar and bottomed with Op-Art illusionistic ellipses.

It is impossible to withhold a certain admiration for so much visual cleverness but after awhile you do wonder if there is anything here beyond a breathtaking amount of bobbing and parrying. If it looks like anything its the old Bay Area Funk style--transforming its slangy sarcasm into biting wit that can blow up any arguement without quite taking a position.

Even its vaunted originality suddenly reminds us generically of Jill Geigerich, Marc Pally, Lari Pittman and others who--lo and behold --all went to CalArts. What we have here is Lloyd’s version of a highly inbred school style. Interesting? Yes. Unfathomable? No. (Margo Leavin Gallery, 812 N. Robertson Blvd. to Nov. 12.)

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